Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Now playing:
On Air
Listen Live
(Giuliano Moller/Blaze Radio)
(Giuliano Moller/Blaze Radio)

Ohio State Surges Late, Bullpen Issues Linger for ASU

PHOENIX - After falling to Ohio State on Thursday, Friday’s matchup saw a rejuvenated ASU lineup led by the offense excellency fans were accustomed to. On the other side of the ball, Thomas Burns would tally another solid performance on the bump and the bullpen would showcase quality innings of work, a hopeful indication that the bullpen troubles late in games may have just been arms shaking off the rust . With the series split at one apiece, both sides would be hungry for the win in Saturday’s afternoon contest. 

The Sun Devils tabbed lefty Connor Markl with the start on Saturday, hoping for a turnaround from the veteran arm after a less than successful first outing. Markl saw plenty of success in summer ball for Mahoning Valley, posting a 3.00 ERA in nine innings of work whilst striking out 13. 

But what will be the challenge for Markl this season is the minimization of walks (he threw eight of them in summer ball) without sacrificing deception and the ability to get outs. In Markl’s first start, he didn’t allow any walks, but he did allow six runs on seven hits. Nevertheless, he would also tally six strikeouts in just his three and two thirds innings of work, so the goal will be to miss bats while staying in the zone at a higher rate. 

Ohio State would get things going early, putting across a run in the first on a Tyler Pettorini RBI single. It certainly wouldn’t faze the ASU lineup. In the bottom of the second, Kevin Karstetter hit a mile high pop-up on the infield that the first baseman Hunter Rosson couldn’t track, resulting in an RBI double. Two batters later, Brandon Compton would walk for the go ahead run, putting ASU up 2-1 after one.

Ohio State would answer in the fourth, tying the game at two thanks to a Joseph Mershon solo homer. Ohio State could’ve had two, but a leaping catch at the wall by Harris Williams would rob Mittchell Okuley of extra bases.

“Anything you can do, I can do better,” Ondina thought (probably) as he rocketed a go-ahead blast over the left field wall for his first home run of the season. Ondina would continue to produce the clutch RBI’s in this one, beating out an infield RBI single to put the Sun Devils ahead by two. His ability to provide plus defense as well as exceptional offense has been an asset for Willie Bloomquist's team.

Connor Markl would have a much improved outing from last time, going five innings and allowing just two runs on six hits with seven strikeouts. If Markl can sustain his growth and development, ASU will have an impressive 1-2-3 punch in their rotation. 

Ohio State, however, wouldn’t go down without a fight. In the seventh inning, the Buckeyes would deliver back-to-back home runs by Matthew Graveline and Tyler Pettorini, supplying three runs to the offensive campaign. Another run would come across thanks to an infield RBI single by Nick Glamarusti, and quickly Ohio State would propel out in front 6-4. 

But when it rains, it pours. And it certainly poured on the Arizona State bullpen. Ohio State would push across another seven runs in the top of the ninth, six of which came off of reliever Brok Eddy who had no answers for the Buckeye hitters. All six of Eddy’s runs would come from the long ball, a grand slam by Pettorini and a two run shot from Graveline. 11 runs would come from the bullpens efforts, a familiar issue with devastating consequences.

The ASU offense was present, amassing 11 hits at the plate, but not when the moments mattered. 11 runners were left on base in this one, limiting ASU’s run total and making it more difficult for the pitching to hold down the fort. Despite a single and a walk in the bottom of the ninth, the Sun Devils could not cash in and fell to the Buckeyes 13-4. 

For Willie Bloomquist, the frustration that's surrounded the bullpens struggles has been a challenge to manage so far. “It’s not piecing together the way we want it to on that back end right now. We’re going to have to evaluate who are the arms that can get it done and one thing we’re finding out is we can’t. If our starters are gonna give us decent starts, five innings or more, we’re gonna have to figure out how to finish games,” Bloomquist said in the presser. 

Saturday’s loss ballooned ASU’s team ERA to 8.86, a mark no one on the Arizona State roster is proud about. If ASU wants to continue to win ball games at the rate they know they can, it will take major changes from everyone to surmount that kind of improvement. With one game left in the series, the Sun Devils do have the chance to split the series on Sunday and embark on their first road trip at a 5-3 record. But it seems that will be determined by how badly Arizona State wants it. 

The righty Tyler Meyer will get the ball for Sunday’s deciding game before ASU hits the road for the 2024 College Baseball Series at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. 

Similar Posts